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Koos Kombuis

Creeping up on the Kardashians

2011-04-04 08:42
I’m not just imagining it. Reality shows are getting worse, not better.

I have just watched a number of episodes of Keeping up with the Kardashians in quick succession. It’s hard to describe my feelings. There’s a kind of numbness all over me. My mind feels like a sponge with no water in it.

At least, I know much more about certain topics now. I know it’s hard to find a gym in New York. I know there’s something wrong with that big girl’s toes. I understand that having lots of money is no guarantee of good taste, an informed and inquisitive personality, or anything that adds zest, vitality and humour to the existence of mankind on this planet.

Look, it’s not as if I expected these people who call themselves “the Kardashians” to go around quoting Heidegger or philosophising about quantum physics. It’s just that I’m beginning to realise what reality TV is really all about: it provides a home for the really bad scriptwriters in America, the ones who are too dumb to put a proper story together.

Holly or Dolly

For, believe it or not, the reality shows we see nowadays are not actually reality shows. I dare you to watch any episode of any of the three ex-playmates who used to live in Hugh Hefner’s house (most of them are called Holly, or Dolly, or something like that). It’s not as if those girls just carry on with their normal lives, followed by camera-men. Believe it or not, their stories do have scripts. Very, very bad scripts. Scripts that mostly revolve around facials, manicures, boring pub crawls, phantom domestic crises and small fluffy animals with stage fright.

Of all the girls called Holly or Dolly, the only one I like is Kendra. Kendra is brave enough to appear, without makeup, in tracksuit pants, and she is acquainted with babies that actually need diaper changes. I know people like Kendra. They live next door to us. But that still doesn’t mean I enjoy watching her shows; it makes me feel rather creepy, as if I’m hiding in a suburban closet and watching some housewife, who is not my own wife, go around her business. And that’s the worst kind of voyeurism, isn’t it?

There was a time, many moons ago, when reality TV was interesting and even addictive. Will we ever forget the first Big Brother series? All those wicked, wicked characters? Bad Brad? The guy who pooped on the lawn? That little stupid nymphette with the red hair? Oh, we loved that show. Until we realised the next series would be exactly the same. Or until it dawned on us that, perhaps, it’s a bit silly to spend all our waking hours watching a bunch of overgrown teenagers who we would’ve hated if we actually had to share a house with them.


The one reality show I REALLY liked, though, was the show about Ozzy Osbourne and his family. Remember that one? It had the ring of truth to it. That was when I first fell in love with Kelly. Our romance has soured since then, because she refuses, to this day, to reply to my tweets. She doesn’t even catch my jokes!

One day, she remarked on Twitter that she hadn’t slept a wink all night, because she could hear her mother snoring and her dog licking its fanny. I promptly tweeted to her: “Imagine if it was the other way round!” She has ignored me ever since. I’m beginning to think that, deep down, she might be just as shallow as the Kardashians…

Anyway, I think I’m through with reality TV for the time being. The whole concept is too much like junk food. Of course, junk food has its place in the food chain, but I’d rather have a real old-fashioned burger than a dripping sweet toffee-apple.

That’s why I still prefer decent old-fashioned British comedies like Keeping up Appearances.

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